Landon Hilst | Echo
Move over "Shalom," there's a new "S" word on everyone's mind today: Shazam!
With the speed of Mercury and the power of Zeus, "Shazam!" has arrived in theaters to a successful $53 million opening weekend. The newest comic book character to grace the big screen, "Shazam!" joins the ranks of Aquaman and Wonder Woman in turning a new page in Warner Brothers' superhero franchise. Cast aside those dark color palettes and relentless scowls because DC Comics has finally discovered how to have fun again.
The joyous, youthful vibe of "Shazam!" stands out amongst comic book films for allowing itself to have fun with the source material and not get bogged down with "great responsibility."
Fourteen-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is imbued with the magical powers of an ancient wizard to become the champion force of good as the hero Shazam (Zachary Levi). The young Billy is gifted command over lightning as well as incredible strength and speed to combat the sinister Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who craves the wizard's power as his own.
The film has a remarkable cast, with Levi and Strong both putting in great performances in the fight of good against evil. While "Shazam!" does not break any new ground when it comes to storyline, it does present a fresh take on a familiar character type. The film takes the generic Superman hero archetype and electrifies it with a new twist: he has the personality and motivations of any young teenager.
Levi's goofy mannerisms present a hilarious fish-out-of-water scenario as we see Billy Batson handle suddenly becoming a full grown adult and jump into this "caped-crusader stuff." With fellow foster kid and absolute super-geek Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) at his side every awkward step of the way, the pair form a close bond as they test the limits of Billy's powers.
Part of the reason for the success of "Shazam!" is because the movie maintains a number of different tones that never feel out of place, and keep the movie fresh and exciting. The biggest problems lie in a seemingly one-note villain and shaky pacing laced through the whole 132 minute runtime.
The film takes a bit too long to find its footing in the beginning, but this serves only to reflect the journey embarked by all would-be heroes. It may stumble at first, but once it hits its stride, it is a wholly entertaining movie. Of course, "Shazam!" is not a perfect film, but the positives far outmatch the negatives.
The true magic of this film lies in Billy and Freddy's friendship and their relationship with their foster family. Billy, having been separated from his mom in his early years, prefers to be an outsider, but learns to embrace his new parents and siblings, as well as his powers, to discover that he does not have to live life alone.
"Shazam!" was a fun movie to watch, with heartfelt themes and good performances all around, especially from the young actors, earning it a score of 4 out of 5 stars. "Shazam!" is currently in theaters and rated pg-13.